Book Excerpt                                      Husro & Shirin

                                                                  A historical novel of  love and, war


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Poet tells the story: 

All through the history of Persian poetry among numerous poets, the name Shirin is a symbol

of beauty, love, and devotion. But only one tells her life story in detail. So let’s travel back in

time and over mountains, seas and centuries, back to the city of Ganjeh at the house of Nizami

Ganjavi in the 12th century and meet the handsome 39 year old man with a magical voice and

flashing eyes. Nezami tells an epic story about love and loss, war, sacrifice, and tragedy. “Shirin”

he says, “would not be so famous if it weren’t for the Almighty King Parviz”. So he starts his story

about Husro –Parviz. 

One night joy leads to harsh punishment After a day of hunting, Parviz came upon a village

which was surrounded by new green pastures. He sat on a hillock overlooking the green valley

and started to drink. He was discussing the hunt with his young friends when the night began

to spread its black veil over the world. They rode down into the village, and when curious men

came out to greet them, Parviz asked if they might stay overnight. One man invited him to his

house, where a small group of men sat around drinking. A musician with the troupe of hunters

took out a harp and started to play. Soon people were dancing or drinking and bellowing. Parviz

and his friends danced deep into the early morning. He was unaware that outside his horse was

trampling a farmer’s land, eating the produce, and that one of the soldier’s in their entourage

had picked fruits from a tree without permission. However, Shah Hormozd had a pact with his

people that nobody would abuse anyone. The horses should not mess up anybody’s farm, and

nobody should pick any fruits without the owner’s permission. The next morning as soon as the

sun divided night from the day, someone told the Shah what happened the night before. “The

prince,” he said, “Did not obey your order. His horse ate from the farm, his soldier took from the

tree, and Parviz took over the small place of a poor man in which his harp did not let him sleep.”

The Shah got angry and ordered his men to kill Parviz’s horse, give his slave to the owner of the

orchard, break his harp and give his throne to the villager whose house he spent the night.

The Dream:

That evening, when the night spread its hair, covering the world in darkness, Parviz went home

and recited his prayers. Then he went to bed and fell asleep. In his dream, his grandfather told him,

“You will be the sun of the new world. Since you ate sour grapes and did not turn sour, you will find

a lover who is sweeter than any woman in the world. Her name is Shirin. Second, they killed your

horse, but you did not get mad so you will find a black horse called Shabdiz that is the fastest horse

in the universe. Third: Since Shah gave your throne away, you will get the throne of the Persian

kingdom. Fourth: Since you were patient when they broke up your harp, you will find a musician

called Barbed whose music will take his audiences to the heaven of imagination. You will find gold in

place of stone, four gems in place of four beads.” The prince woke up with amusement. Which kind

of dreams was that? Is it possible that my grandfather knows what is going to happen to me? Do I

really get what he promised?

He got up and started walking in his castle looking at the fresh flowers and thinking about his dream, but

did not know what to make of it. The days that followed he was occupied with the dream and was wondering

what that was about and why.

Parviz in the Prairie: 

He alone meandered around when he saw the magnificent scenery. A tall mountain covered with wildflowers, green

pasture, and a pond in the middle. He strolled around the dugout while thinking “Is it possible for me to get both

Shirin and Shabdiz? Really!” He was not aware that that black horse and that beautiful idol were close by. He started

looking around, the water was so clear but what was inside took his breath away. He saw a beautiful lady standing in

the pond like the prettiest spring blossom.

Her body was like a snowy mountain beneath the water. She stood, and Parviz looked at her beautiful breasts, watched

her combing her long black hair back behind her ears.  The king’s heart flared, seeing that naked woman. She was un--

aware of his stare. When she got out of the water, she saw him, a tall, handsome man mounting a horse. She was dist-

urbed and did not have any other way to cover herself except by pulling her hair over her naked body. Parviz’s heart

begged him to look more, to get closer to that beautiful idol. But he saw her discomfort and, putting aside his lustful

thoughts, decided to look the other way. His heart was melting inside, with the fire of lust like gold mixed with silver

in flames. He kept his eyes looking way. He waited. He was a nobleman and did not want to shame a lady. He looked

up the mountain so she could cover herself.